Recently Featured Essays:  

Just Interesting

by Jonathan Mack

Tokyo, 2013

It sounds odd to call Taro my student since he was eighty-seven when he died and already over eighty when he started attending my English class. He was old enough to have been a soldier in World War Two—a very young, near-sighted, and perhaps slightly eccentric one.

I can report that although Taro’s English was slow and halting, he didn’t make many mistakes and he could say what he wanted to say. He did not, however, participate in discussions. While the other students related their ailments, holidays and grandchildren, Taro sat still as a statue, without seeming to move even his eyes, so becalmed you could be excused for thinking that he’d maybe gone a little soft in the head.

Each week, when the discussion had slowed a little, or when I saw that class would soon be over, I’d turn to Taro and ask, “So, Taro, any news?”

If it sounds like I wasn’t a very good English teacher, that’s the truth. I was lazy. I was too tired and too busy, like everyone else in the city of Tokyo. On the plus side, I was not very important in the lives of my students. A focused and energetic English lesson would only have gotten in the way. I was just an excuse. I was an excuse and I knew it. Just as the English language was an excuse.

Read: "Just Interesting"


More Than One Soul Mate

by Ruth M. Hunt

My fingers dig into the faux-leather steering wheel as I point my right foot to the ground and the engine roars with exertion. One thought goes through my mind, “What the heck am I going to do with this kid?!” The windshield wipers’ squeaky objection snaps me out of my trance and I slap my hand up quickly, turning the wipers off. The rain has finally stopped. The word, “rain,” gives more credit than this annoying drizzle has earned. We moved to Washington from Texas three months ago and the constant mist is as annoying as gnats in your face when you’re trying to enjoy a picnic. At least in the dry Texas heat my hair didn’t frizz. Of course, I haven’t had my hair down much here where it can frizz. I’ve been working long hours preparing for this deployment and being in the uniform means my hair is up in a tight, strict bun.

Again I’m jarred out of my ranging thoughts as I make a quick right turn and my truck fish-tails into the empty left lane. “Oh, crap,” escapes my lips as I’m barely able to keep from spinning out. I release my foot from the accelerator. I remind myself I still need to learn how to drive on these slick roads. I try to calm my anger and anxiety and take slow, deep breaths. The full scent of the lush greenery is calming in its backwoods way. The beauty of this unfamiliar state is undeniable as I admire the silent giants lining each side of the road the whole way home.

Read: "More Than One Soul Mate"






Wedding Bells

by Paul Pekin

There was a blonde in our newspaper office who was supposed to be making nice with the boss. I'm not sure I believed this, but I disliked her enough to believe anything. I worked in the shop, washing presses, sweeping up, occasionally running small jobs on the Kluge Press, and she was billed as a reporter, something I could have been if only I'd gone to college.

I'd been working for the paper since I was sixteen. It was my first job and it was fine for what I'd been hired to do, but I was never going to be promoted. Work at this print shop holds its own tales, but what I really want to tell here is the story of my wedding which took place in the summer of 1950, and very nearly didn't happen.

Read: "Wedding Bells"

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